Anahilt church marks 350 years with a vision for the future

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ANAHILT Presbyterian Church is gearing up to celebrate its 350th anniversary this year with the creation of a ‘Vision 2012’ project which will see extensive renovation work carried out on the historic church building.

Numerous events are planned, with the aim of reaching out to the community and getting people involved with the church, where worshippers first gathered in 1662.

Rev Gareth McFadden, who was installed as minister in September 2010, with united charge of both Anahilt and nearby Drumlough Presbyterian Church, said his focus was “celebrating a key milestone” in the community’s history by putting in place the foundations for bringing the church into the next 350 years.

This includes major renovation work and plans are now well advanced for the creation of new toilet facilities, quiet rooms, improved disabled access and a musical stage.

“This is an exciting time to be a part of a congregation with a long history that is looking forward to a bright future welcoming and involving everyone in Christ’s name,” said Mr McFadden. “The costs associated with this undertaking will be considerable and a number of events in 2012 will be held to raise funds for this project.”

Among these are a traditional afternoon tea party to be held in Hillsborough Court House on Saturday, 31st March; a hog roast with entertainment in Castlewellan Forest Park on Friday, 27th April; and a country fair at Spruce Meadows Open Farm on Saturday, 26th May.

Kicking off ‘Vision 2012’ will be a musical concert with the Bailies Mills Accordian Band in Hillsborough Village Centre on Friday, 10th February, starting at 7.45pm. Tickets can be purchased by contacting the centre on 9268 3015.